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Niemeyer Centre shut down

The Niemeyer Centre in Aviles, Spain. Photograph: Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images

The Niemeyer Centre designed by the Oscar Niemeyer is forced to close its doors - 44 million Euros and 6 month later.

The celebrated 103-year-old Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, designed the Niemeyer Centre for the city of Avilés, Northern Spain, in spring 2011.

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements: An open square for cultural activities, an auditorium, a 2.500 m2 dome for exhibitions, an sight-seeing tower with restaurant and cocktail lounge and a multi-purpose building that is used as a film center, meeting-rooms and café.

The Niemeyer Centre's sightseeing tour and exhibition dome. Photo: Niemeyer Centre, 2011

The museum was intended to have the same impact on the industrial sea-port city as the Guggenheim museum has had on Bilbao, 150 miles to the east, that opened in 1997: The city of Avilés hoped for the “Niemeyer effect”.

During the past two decades’ boom years of public investment in culture world-famous architects designed museums and arts centers in Spain, but now a new regional government has forced the Niemeyer centre to shut its doors for at least the next two months. The reason: "serious irregularities" in the accounts.

The residents of Aviles protested the announcement to shut down the Niemeyer Centre - they had hoped that the museum would put their city on the global map. Photo: Niemeyer Centre, 2011

Several thousand people protested the announcement of the closing - especially hoteliers and restaurateurs of the city of Avilés, who saw Niemeyer centre as a key driver for local business and hoped it would put the city on the global culture map.

And it did: The Niemeyer Centre brought in big names, to the city like for example Woody Allen, Schnabel or Kevin Spacey.

The Niemeyer centre will close its doors for the next two month according to the regional government's decision . Photo: Niemeyer Centre, 2011

The closing of the Niemeyer Centre puts it on growing list of ambitious publicly-funded projects in Spain which have run into trouble including not only arts centers and museums, but also airports and high-speed railway stations.

More information on the Niemeyer Centre:




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